New Jersey Governor Chris Christie delivered the keynote address for the 2012 Republican National Convention on Tuesday, August 28. While the overall convention theme was “A Better Future,” Christie focused on leadership, choosing respect over love, giving Americans the unvarnished truth, and why Mitt Romney is the right man for the job and for America.
Standing in front of the backdrop of a New Jersey postcard, the same one used on Bruce Springsteen’s album Greetings from Asbury Park, N.J, Christie began his speech explaining how unbelievable it was for him to be on the stage of the Republican National Convention in the first place, as he is “from a state with 700,000 more Democrats than Republicans.”
Expressing his pride in his party, his state, and his country, Christie explained how the lessons his family taught him throughout the course of his life have impacted his everyday life.
“The greatest lesson Mom ever taught me, though, was this one: She told me there would be times in your life when you have to choose between being loved and being respected. She said to always pick being respected, that love without respect was always fleeting— but that respect could grow into real lasting love,” Christie said.
Throughout his speech, Christie expressed how his mother’s wisdom helped him learn that respect is at the foundation of effective and memorable leadership. Making a reference to past and present leadership, he said, “We have become paralyzed by our desire to be l oved.” R eflecting t raditional Republican beliefs, Christie explained how America’s principles must be rooted in “strengths greater than the passions and emotions of the times.”
Making a jab at the Obama administration, Christie said, “Our leaders today have decided it is more important to be popular, to do what it easy, and say ‘yes’ rather than to say ‘no’ when ‘no’ is what’s required.” In an effort to inspire and rally the crowd, Christie explained how we must move away from the leadership popularity contest and take charge on issues that are important to Americans.
Using the theme of respect over love, Christie said, “Tonight, we are speaking for ourselves and stepping up. We are beginning to do what it right and what is necessary to make our country great again.” He explained that it is possible to face hard truths and be honest with the American people while still being respected. After all, he explained, he was able to overcome such challenges as Governor of New Jersey.
When Christie came into office, he explained that rather than trying to be popular, he did the job that New Jersey elected him to do. While there were problems that his opponents claimed could not be fixed, such as an inability to cut taxes, balance the budget, or take on the teacher’s union in New Jersey, Christie explained, “We did it.”
As with New Jersey, Christie illuminated that problems that seem impossible to fix, such as our national debt and deficit, can be resolved with the right leadership and while making a comparison between the Republican and Democratic parties, Christie explained why the Republican party is the right leadership for America.
As is traditional with Republican National Conventions, the New Jersey Governor outlined the current problems that would be addressed upon election. “For make no mistake, the problems are too big to let the American people lose – the slowest economic recovery in decades, a spiraling out of control deficit, an education system that’s failing to compete in the world,” he said.
Christie described Mitt Romney and his Vice Presidential pick, Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan, as the team to put the country “back on the path to growth and create good-paying private sector jobs again in America.” While Christie ended an era of absentee leadership without purpose in New Jersey, he promises that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan will be real leaders in the White House.
As his speech drew to a close, Christie said, “Our problems are big and the solutions will not be painless. We all must share in the sacrifice,” making note that it won’t be easy, but we as Americans must unite as one to overcome such obstacles.
Jason Wiemken, senior political science major, at the University offered his opinion on Christie and his keynote address to the nation. Wiemken explained that he likes Christie despite of the fact that he, as a student, personally leans more liberally when it comes to social issues. Specifically, Wiemken liked the points that Christie made about our education system and the difficulties that the teacher’s union presents.
“I have two teachers in the family who actually agree with Christie simply because once a teacher is tenured, there is basically no accountability. There are teachers out there who are inadequate and lacking but nothing can be done to them simply because they have tenure and the union would make a huge fit over it,” Wiemken said.
However, similar to many criticisms made by Americans surrounding Christie’s speech at the RNC, Wiemken thought it was odd that Christie didn’t even begin to discuss Mitt Romney until halfway through his speech. Discussing a similar opinion, Dr. Michael Phillips-Anderson, Assistant Professor of Applied Communication, believes that if Christie’s intent behind the address was to promote the Republican Party’s nominee, he failed. “He rarely spoke about Romney. Christie was 1700 words into a 2600 word speech before he mentioned the Republican nominee,” he said.
Phillips-Anderson explained that it has often been the case with previous keynote addresses: That the speaker neglects to fully mention and give credit to the nominee throughout the course of their speech. For example, he said, “In 1988, Ann Richards delivered what many see as an excellent performance at the Democratic National Convention, but she barely spoke about the nominee, Michael Dukakis, coincidently another governor from Massachusetts.” Phillips-Anderson explained that while Christie should have been aiming to humanize Mitt Romney, instead he argued that it is better to be respected than loved; coincidently, Ann Romney, Mitt Romney’s wife had spent her speech discussing the importance of love.
Similarly, although his speech was not all that effective in promoting and humanizing Romney, it did put Chris Christie, a New Jersey politician, on the national stage and promoted his potential future run for national office, Phillips- Anderson explained.
Phillips-Anderson believes that Christie missed an opportunity to speak about bipartisanship within our home state. “The Republicans and the Democrats of New Jersey may not particularly like each other, but with a Republican governor and the Democratic legislature, they have to work together. This just may not be the argument that Republicans want to promote nationally,” he said.
While New Jersey residents are known for having a unique, sometimes loud style of communicating, Chris Christie argues with a style of directness and truth telling, something that those outside of the Garden State may not agree with, Phillips-Anderson explained.
Historically, the Republican National Convention is the presidential nominating convention of the Republican Party of the United States, the convention’s website explains. It is convened by the Republican National Committee in order to nominate an official candidate in an upcoming presidential election, to adopt the party platform, and to establish rules for the election cycle. According to the convention’s website, the RNC signifies the end of a presidential primary season.
This year, the 2012 Republican National Convention was held during the week of August 27, 2012 in New Jersey Governor Chris Christie gives the keynote speech at the Republican National Convention. Tampa, Florida at the Tampa Bay Times Forum. There, delegates officially nominated Mitt Romney for President and Paul Ryan for Vice President for this year’s election. Other prominent speakers besides Chris Christie consisted of but were not limited to; Ann Romney, Rick Santorum, Rand Paul, John McCain, Condoleezza Rice, Clint Eastwood, and of course, Mitt Romney himself.
The convention’s website reads, “History is being made in Tampa this week as 2,286 delegates and 2,125 alternate delegates from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories gather together to nominate the next president of the United States at the 40th Republican National Convention.”
For those that would like to learn more about the Republican National Convention or would like to hear particular speeches/clips, the RNC website explains that there is a RNC YouTube page that “ is filled with social conversations, social data, infographics, photos and videos to keep you informed of convention activities.” The website is http://www.youtube.com/user/rnc.
As the time until Election Day dwindles, Americans are pitted in constant internal and external debate with questions regarding who is the best candidate for themselves as individuals, their companies, their families, and their futures. Perhaps the most important question, and the one least asked by voters, is which candidate will do the most for America.
IMAGE taken from politicker.com